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Custom gearboxes will ‘revolutionise’ transmission market

23 March, 2023

The German gearbox-maker Flender has announced a new generation of single-stage helical gearboxes which, it predicts, will revolutionise the market. The company – previously owned by Siemens, which sold it to the investment firm Carlyle in 2020 – says that the new Flender One gearbox sets new benchmarks for efficiency, operating costs, ease of ordering and maintenance, with every box having onboard monitoring and analysis to help avoid failures.

The new gearbox is a successor to the Flender Standard Gearbox (FSG) which was launched abut 30 years ago and has become an industry standard. There are currently more than 500,000 Flender gearboxes in operation around the world.

Thanks to a redesigned housing and optimised gear set, the new generation of gearboxes will cut operating costs while making the most efficient use of resources possible. The new boxes are said to be “unique” in linking product design and digital services throughout the entire lifecycle, from ordering to operation.

The new boxes, due to be launched at the Hannover Fair in April, will be produced to individual customer requirements. They will be designed and dimensioned precisely for each application, avoiding wastage of raw materials and resources. Flender says that the new-generation gearboxes will define a new path where “standard” is not the focus anymore.

Users will be able to configure their customised gearboxes online with just three pieces of information: the application, the power and the speed. If they want, they can add more detailed parameters. The configurator will produce a 360-degree preview of the box as well as 3D data “within seconds”.

“We offer to take the time-consuming preliminary considerations off our customers’ hands,” says Flender One project manager, Dr Jan Reimann. “We no longer ask for the specifications and features of the gear unit, but only for the desired benefits. Customers tell us how and where they want to use the gear unit, and we guide them which gear unit with which functions they need for this purpose.”

“Each gearbox is designed to meet individual requirements,” adds Rouven Daniel, Flender’s president for industrial gears. “The customer gets exactly what he needs – no less and especially no more. In addition, we simplify and accelerate all processes, including predictive service. This saves time and money and contributes to climate protection through minimal use of resources.”

One way of ensuring that customers get exactly the box that they need, is that Flender engineers have developed what they claim is the world’s narrowest gear ratio range, with 103 steps between 1 and 7.1 per size. This allows the ratio to be optimised for maximum efficiency. The deviation between the desired speed and closest available option is 1.5% at most.

“With Flender One, our customers receive a completely new type of gear unit solution, precisely tailored to their application, exactly according to their requirements and preventing waste while utilising the smallest drive concept possible,” says Flender CEO, Andreas Evertz. “The reduced energy requirement during operation also helps to protect resources.”

Flender says its new generation of single-stage helical gearboxes will revolutionise the market

The gearboxes have a 35% larger housing surface than previous models. Distinctive cooling ribs increase the thermal capacity and, depending on the application, can eliminate the need for additional external cooling, saving energy and cutting running costs. The Metaperform gearing is also said to reduce power losses by up to half, compared with previous boxes. This is achieved through a combination of improved rolling behaviour and more uniform contact surfaces.

Each gearbox will be fitted with Flender’s new AIQ monitoring and analytical technology which uses built-in sensors. This allows the box’s operating states to be monitored via an online portal or app, giving plant operators up-to-date information during operation. Detailed condition monitoring of individual components detects any deviations from the optimum at an early stage, allowing potential failures to be predicted and avoided. The monitoring capability is said to result in reduced wear at constant performance, and increased availability.

The AIQ technology can also be retrofitted to old or third-party boxes, meaning that plant operators will be able to devote less time on their drivetrains, according to Flender.

"Flender One is a step towards a completely new customer experience in drive technology,” says industrial gears president, Rouven Daniel. “We are convinced that Flender One is not only a milestone, but also a worthy successor to the previous single-stage gear unit. We have understood the customer's wish to be able to obtain a suitable gear unit solution easily and at the same time with maximum precision. The customer can look forward not only to a new gear unit, but also to a faster ordering process and optimised operation throughout the entire lifecycle, thanks to AIQ. This is a unique gear unit solution in the market.”

“What makes Flender One unique, is the ability to exactly meet customer requirements while processes automatically run in the background – over the entire lifecycle from order to operation in the plant,” adds Flender CEO, Andreas Evertz. “The fully digitalised engineering process is a further milestone. Automatically designing parts according to customer requirements without human interaction. This is the future of the industry.”

Flender promises that there are “further developments to follow” and says it is also applying the AIQ technology to its couplings portfolio.

FlenderLinkedIn

The AIQ technology combines sensor and analytic functions to provide information on a gearbox while it is running.



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